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on display at The Game Fair

For shooters of calibre

September 2018 No.159 £4.75


FOXING n Fine-tune your foxing set-up n NV units for every budget n Increase stubble success

TESTED! TOP OF THE WORLD Remington's legendary 700 in the field

Mountain hunting in British Columbia

WIN! Vortex Viper HS 4-16x50 scope wORTH £509

BACK-END BUCKS Why the post-rut period can be one of the best


Issue 159

Future PLC Units 1-3, Sugarbrook Court, Aston Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B60 3EX

Editorial Editor-in-chief Peter Carr

Deputy editor Colin Fallon

01225 687426 /

Production editors Kyle Hearse, Andrew Westbrook Art editor Steve Mumby Senior art editor Stephen Williams Contributors David Barrington Barnes, Tom Barry, Robert Bucknell, Paul Childerley, Daryl Crimp, Chris Dalton, Dominic Griffith, James Marchington, Will O'Meara, Byron Pace, Chris Parkin, Mike Powell, Mark Ripley, Kevin Thomas, Stuart Wilson Cover image Mark Hamblin / Getty Images Stock photography Alamy, Getty Images, Shutterstock All copyrights and trademarks are recognised and respected Advertising Media packs are available on request Commercial Director Clare Dove Group Advertising Director Mark Wright Advertising Sales Manager Toni Cole 01225 687368

Contents 8 News

62 The calibre hunter

Grouse shooting setbacks, political machinations and more essential shooting news

What’s the next ‘must-have’ calibre going to be?

12 The Game Fair Highlights from The Game Fair at Ragley, including new product launches and the atmosphere on Gunmakers’ Row

14 Mail bag The best letter wins a bottle of the King’s Ginger – get scribbling!

International Sporting Rifle is available for licensing. Contact the international department to discuss partnership opportunities. International Licensing Director Matt Ellis Subscriptions Email enquiries UK orderline & enquiries 0344 848 2852 Overseas order line and enquiries +44 (0)344 848 2852 Online orders & enquiries Head of subscriptions Sharon Todd Circulation Head of Newstrade Tim Mathers Production Head of Production Mark Constance Production Project Manager Clare Scott Advertising Production Manager Joanne Crosby Digital Editions Controller Jason Hudson Production Controller Nola Cokely Management Managing Director Aaron Asadi Commercial Finance Director Dan Jotcham Editorial Director Paul Newman Head of Art & Design Greg Whitaker Printed by William Gibbons Distributed by Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU Tel: 0203 787 9060 ISSN 1748-8737 We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill holds full FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and accreditation All contents © 2018 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/ or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

16 Conquer Charlie The crops are off – and the post-harvest foxing bonanza could last even longer this year. Robert Bucknell gets out there with the lamp

21 Pea-soup foxing Some thick fog means Mark Ripley is reduced to foxing at rather less than his usual range

24 Same as it ever was?


Will O’Meara reveals the technology he uses to make his stalks a success, from apps to GPS units

73 Belgian meets British Rudi van Kets crosses the Channel to discover the British ways of deer dog tracking

76 WIN! A Vortex Viper HS scope worth £509

80 Target news David Luckman wins the Imperial, and more essential news for target shooters

83 The big one

28 Subscribe!

Thomas Nissen embarks on an emotional hunt for mountain goat in British Columbia

Save money on your favourite rifle shooting magazine

31 Remy on review

86 Tears in the snow 90 Different stripes

Stuart Wilson assesses the 5-R version of Remington’s classic 700 rifle

The zebra is a worthy quarry and could be among the more difficult species out there, says Kevin Thomas

36 Last-minute buck

96 Kudu challenge

An elusive roebuck keeps Paul Childerley chasing it all the way to the end of the season – but will he grass it in time?

41 Ask the experts

Daryl Crimp and two fellow hunters find themselves chasing wisps of grey smoke in Limpopo

100 A glimpse of history

It’s a foxing special of Ask The Experts, with predator control queries of all kinds answered

David Barrington Barnes profiles a colonial figure who combined military and stalking careers

48 Endurance test

103 Conservation battle

Chris Parkin turns his eye to the new wideangle version of Hawke’s Endurance scope

Tom Barry speaks in defence of the militarisation of global conservation

52 NV, no problem

106 Where to shoot

You don’t need a second mortgage to get into the world of NV and TI. We bring you some of the more affordable units on the market

Plan your next hunt today

56 Debs’ debut

Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244

67 Techno stalking

How TR shooters can make the jump up from 900 to 1000 yards

Is this the very best month of the year for the stalker? David Barrington Barnes thinks so

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Richard Huntingford Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand

We reveal the leading bids in our auction to raise funds for Save The Rhino

How has the post-harvest foxing period changed over the years? Mike Powell shows you how to make the most of it today

54 September memories

Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR)

64 Save The Rhino

Chris Dalton takes the editor’s wife out for a first ever Scottish roebuck

108 Courses Everything from DSC to PhD

109 Almanac What to expect this September

110 Reader ads Buy and sell your gear for free here

113 Book club The Stalking Handbook 2018 is out now

58 Head measuring

114 Back page

A report on all the heads measured at a very successful Scottish Game Fair

Byron Pace remembers an airgunning legend

comment: The Game Fair

Game Fair hailed a success Editor-in-chief Peter Carr reports that The Game Fair has a sunny outlook, no matter what the weather may actually be like


he Game Fair has long been a regular fixture in the sportsman’s calendar, and this year’s event, hailed as the 60th anniversary (it was originally the CLA Game Fair before National Game Fair Ltd took over running the event in 2016) did not disappoint. We saw three days of changeable weather, from a scorching Friday through an inclement Saturday and finally a wet and windy Sunday. Despite the vagaries of the Great British weather, none of it dampened visitors’ spirits or exhibitors’ community spirit one jot. Indeed, many of the 800 exhibitors are already preparing to book their slot for the 2019 event at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire after a weekend showcasing their products in front of so many people – 113,536 visitors attended over the three days. Melanie Selman, Ariat’s European marketing manager, said: “This is our first time at The Game Fair and we have had a really positive response. It has been especially brilliant for new customers to tell them more about the brand and what it’s all about.” Tom Foulkes, marketing director at estate agency Carter Jonas, one of The Game Fair’s loyal sponsors, added: “The weekend has been fantastic. The team have been delighted with how it has gone. We will definitely be back next year. We know that already.” Justin Urquhart Stewart, the co-founder of sponsor Seven Investment Management, commented: “We have had a great weekend at The Game Fair. Being able to meet so many people and explain who we are, what we do and how we can help people, has been fantastic.” The managing director of gunmaker Holland & Holland, Daryl Greatrex, said: “It was wellattended and a huge success, despite the uncooperative weather.” The Field Kitchen Theatre, sponsored by Wild Alaska Seafood, drew in huge numbers. Chef José Souto, who has been demonstrating throughout the weekend, said: “The demonstrations went fantastically well. We’ve been using wild Alaskan salmon, two roe deer that I harvested and a whole host of


wild products, which is the essence of The Game Fair. Hopefully the crowds have enjoyed it – we’ve had an absolutely packed theatre for every demonstration.” Appearing at The Game Fair for only the second time, BBC television presenter Nick Hancock enjoyed talking tackle and all things angling in the Fishing Theatre, a new feature in the Fishing Village this year. He has also been representing Lord’s Taverners, The Game Fair’s official charity. “We have had an enthusiastic and very engaged audience in the theatre,” he said. “It is my second Game Fair, and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. It’s been very interesting. I’m also representing Lord’s Taverners, who do fantastic work for children with special needs, and people have been very generous.” BBC Radio 4 came to Ragley Hall to broadcast its flagship Today programme live from The Game Fair, and a new partnership agreement between Britain’s best countryside festival and the largest annual hunting and falconry exhibition in Qatar was celebrated in with a twinning ceremony that included a camel on parade. James Gower, managing director of The Game Fair, added: “It has been an absolute pleasure to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Game Fair with old friends and new. Highlights for me were the twinning ceremony between The Game Fair and Katara International Festival of Hunting and Falcons,

breakfasts with Historic Houses and Seven Investment Management, and incredible displays in the Brewin Dolphin Main Arena – including the Red Devils, who helped us to open the show. “Above all the most enjoyment comes from working with an extraordinary community, a herculean team, Lord Hertford and the Ragley Hall estate team and everyone who makes the event possible, including our treasured sponsors and corporate partners, who I would like to personally thank. We will now enter a period of review and reflection to ensure another standout event next year at Hatfield House.” It is heartening to see the weather did not deter countryside enthusiasts from enjoying top-level shooting and gundog competitions, and everything else the threeday festival of the great British countryside has to offer. It was great to meet the Sporting Rifle readers and The Shooting Show viewers and share a story or two (hundred). All good stuff – it is what binds our sort together. Long may it continue. I’m already looking forward to attending the Game Fair at Hatfield House in 2019. Keep the faith.

Pete Carr, editor-in-chief

News: The latest issues


If you have a news story, email

Many moors suspend shooting

Welsh shock for shooting

A recent letter by the Minister for Environment declaring that the Welsh Labour Government does not support shooting has led to consternation across the shooting community. MP Hannah Blythyn wrote to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to inform the group that due to “policy issues and concerns… the Welsh government does not support commercial pheasant shooting or the breeding of gamebird.” This discards the conclusions of NRW itself, which, after an extensive review, said it supported having well-regulated shoots on its land. The minister’s letter has raised the concerns of thousands of shooters, and the people whose livelihoods depend on it. Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “This is an extraordinary statement which will be extremely disturbing to the thousands of people in rural Wales whose livelihoods depend on shooting. “The last resort of the anti-hunting movement as it loses the argument on


evidence and principle has always been to start talking about ‘morality’ and ‘ethics’. What this really means is that it wants to impose its opinions on everyone else, despite a complete lack of evidence to justify them. Tom Adams, managing director of the British Game Alliance, said: “The political threat to shooting is real, and we know the strongest defences are a thriving game meat market and rigorously-enforced shoot standards. The BGA delivers on both these fronts, and Hannah Blythyn’s letter shows precisely why it is vital that every shoot joins up. “Every shoot that is not a member is a chink in shooting’s armour that can be exploited by those who want to attack us for political gain. Imagine a minister in Westminster signing a letter saying the government do not support shooting or game bird rearing, and imagine how much more catastrophic that will be if we have not embraced credible shoot assurance.”

The grouse season may have begun but relatively few moors are ringing with the sound of guns. BASC has reported that large numbers of moors have opted not to shoot, or to delay the start of the season, owing to the effects of this year’s extreme weather conditions. Grouse numbers have suffered owing to the hard weather experienced earlier in the year during the ‘Beast from the East’, followed by a hot and dry summer. The situation appears particularly difficult in the north of England. Duncan Thomas, BASC North director, said: “The situation is localised and some moors with a more positive aspect may still shoot. On a visit I made to a moor in the run-up to the start of the season, one side of the moor was covered in healthy heather and grouse and the other was barren with heather beetle and there were no grouse. “There are no guarantees shooting will resume next year. The restraint shown to allow the grouse numbers to recover should be applauded.” In Scotland, the prospects were said to be almost as challenging as in the north of England. Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “Nearly all driven days have been cancelled with only a few estates hoping that they may manage a day later on in the season. “The situation in Scotland, also affected by the very dry weather, may have been compounded by reported high numbers of tick that can actually kill grouse chicks.”

News: The latest issues

BASC hits back at Bill

BASC supplied evidence to the members of the parliamentary Public Bill committee on why proposals to ban large-calibre rifles, contained in the Offensive Weapons Bill, are a bad idea. When asked about the implications of the proposal, which would affect .50 calibres in particular, BASC’s director of communications and public affairs Christopher Graffius told members of the committee: “I am particularly concerned because it will take away a legitimate, lawful, and safelyconducted sport at which we do particularly well in the World Championships. “I think it also establishes a principle in law via muzzle energy could be used to threaten even more commonly-used calibres and that could seriously damage shooting in the future,” said Mr Graffius, who gave evidence to the committee alongside BASC’s director or firearms, Bill Harriman. BASC previously told MP’s that attempts to ban .50 calibre target rifles are disproportionate and not evidencebased. When asked if he agreed with further evidence provided by the National Crime Agency and National Ballistics Intelligence Service, Mr Graffius said he did not. “I think one of the problems with rifle that are firing over 10,000ft/lb, in particular the .50 calibre, at which this legislation was first aimed at, is that very few people have seen one, even fewer have handled one and fewer still have pulled the trigger one. There tends to be a lot of myth around it and I’m afraid that much of what you were told was either misleading or inaccurate and often quite ridiculous.”

Game Fair shines on diamond anniversary The Game Fair celebrated its 60th year in emphatic style on 27-29 July. Huge crowds gathered to watch the opening ceremony, as organisers and industry representatives, including Lord Hertford, welcomed guests to Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

The celebrations began with the Red Devils skydiving team parachuting into the Brewin Dolphin Main Arena. This was followed by a 60-gun salute officially marking the opening of the show. Managing director of the Game Fair,

James Gower, commented: “We saw a stunning spectacle as many gathered to witness a truly momentous occasion performed by a group of passionate individuals. It’s a real pleasure to welcome the exhibitors, our sponsors, and most importantly, our visitors who have all congregated to celebrate our great British countryside.” Lord Hertford, the ninth Marquess of Hertford and owner of Ragley Hall, also celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this year. He said of the landmark event: “This festival brings people together. I love the community spirit. I love the camaraderie. And I love the passion there is for the countryside at the Game Fair.” The changeable weather didn’t deter field sports fanatics for the rest of the three-day fair, with organisers declaring a visitor total just over 113,000. Read more from the show in our Game Fair feature starting on page 12.



News: The latest issues

Packham’s grouse gaffe Chris Packham has been engaged in his yearly anti-grouse shooting campaigning, timed to coincide with the start of the grouse season – but he appears not to have realised when the season actually begins. “On 12 August, the uplands will echo with the sounds of gunshots,” he wrote on Twitter – but as 12 August is a Sunday, no shooting is permitted until at least 13 August. A BASC spokesperson said, “If Packham is going to use such events to promote his anti-shooting agenda, he should at least get his facts straight.”

Rural crime as bad as ever Countrymen and women are affected by crime on a daily basis. That’s the finding of the latest Rural Crime Report, which says crime is getting worse and confidence in rural policing is down. Countryside dwellers and businesses believe they are specifically targeted by organised groups of criminals. And more than a third of crimes go unreported, which in turn leads to rural crime not being prioritised by police forces. The Countryside Alliance said the “figures will not come as a surprise to those who live in the countryside.”

Coghill joins council Ian Coghill, the outgoing chairman of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, has joined BASC’s governing council. He brings with him eight years’s experience at the helm of the GWCT and 42 years in local government. BASC chairman Peter Glenser said he was “absolutely delighted” Mr Coghill was now a member of council.


Kids go free at NSS All children aged 15 and under will get free entry to the Northern Shooting Show 2019, organisers of the show have announced. The show returns to the Yorkshire Event Centre on 11-12 May 2019 and is set to grow once again and provide a huge range of attractions – which will be accessible to more visitors than ever thanks free-entry scheme. This comes courtesy of BASC, and has been met with widespread praise. “It’s a clear statement from ourselves and BASC that we need to support young shooters,” organisers said. The show also announced a partnership with video channel Gunroom.TV – clearly they are busier

than ever planning attractions and promotions for the 2019 event. Early bird tickets to the NSS – which offer a discounted price, free parking and fast entry to the show – are available now from www.

Hen harrier management plan is working There’s been an upturn in the fortunes of hen harriers – they’ve had their most successful breeding season in England for over a decade. And land managed for shooting has been key to this growth. Of this year’s 34 hen harrier chicks, 21 fledged from land managed for grouse shooting. Last year there were no nests on grouse moors and only three successful nests across all of England that raised just 10 chicks. Hen harriers are notoriously poor survivors in the first year with natural mortality affecting about seven out of every ten birds. Trials of a revolutionary harrier management licence to get more harriers on English moors are clearly having a positive effect this year, even as they face challenges from anti-shooting activists.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “We are delighted that 34 harriers have fledged from the English uplands with a much improved range. Grouse moor managers and their gamekeepers are to be congratulated for their involvement in eight of the breeding attempts resulting in five successful nests on moorland managed for red grouse across Lancashire, Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. Yet, certain organisations and individuals are intent on doing whatever it takes, including wasting court time and taxpayers’ money, to prevent a successful outcome”. Andrew Gilruth, Director of Communications at the GWCT, said: “The RSPB must be congratulated for insisting that Defra produced a hen harrier recovery plan that had the full support of the grouse moors. For decades nest protection was never enough, now we are seeing the success of working with landowners to resolve wildlife conflicts. Activists objecting to these government plans should focus on what is best for the harrier.”

Up next… South Yorkshire The South Yorkshire Shooting Show & Game Fair returns on 29 and 30 September, at Doncaster Racecourse. The event, now in its fifth year, aims to showcase the best in shooting and hunting equipment and boasts more than 150 exhibitors including Raytrade, GMK, Blaser, Sauer, Mauser, Daystate, Brocock, MTC, Nightmaster and Swillington Shooting Supplies. There are indoor stands as well as game fair exhibits outdoors, with a variety of food and crafts on offer. Have-a-go activities include an airgun range, archery, a shooting simulator, a .22 range and an optics area with views up to a mile from the grandstand. There's also a 40 bird clay competition with a cash prize for each day’s

high gun, and a Yildiz shotgun to be won by the top under-16 who shoots both days. On the Friday evening before the show there’s a Night Master night vision and thermal imaging demo evening, with the first 20 people to attend the demo receiving free entry to the show. Tickets cost from £9 pre-booked, or £12 on the day, and under 16s get in free.

news: The Game Fair

The best of Ragley As The Game Fair had its 60th anniversary at Ragley Hall on 27-29 July, we trawled the aisles of Gunmakers’ Row for product launches and highlights…


Arxus Arxus are game fair stalwarts and their high-tech, Swedish-made footwear always draws the crowds – especially when their creator, Magnus Apler, is in attendance. One product they were particularly keen to show us was the Primo Country Zip, constructed from a mix of rubber and textile lined with 3mm neoprene. So it’s lighter than a full-rubber boot, flexible, yet still stable thanks to the X-pattern sole. Finished in dark brown, it’s a boot for all uses, available in sizes from 3.5 to 12. 07765 465174

Club Foxer At the Best Fox Call stand, we found a break in the chorus of mouse squeaks and predator calls to chat to Rob Crampton about the newly founded Best Fox Call. “With GDPR going on and Facebook getting tougher on what you can say about shooting, we found it was harder to talk to people,” he said. “So that’s why we started Club Foxer. But we


needed to give people a reason to join. So we teamed up with Gunplan, who are offering all our members a 30 per cent discount on their insurance products. We’re also doing regular competitions, a classifieds section, hints and tips and an opportunity to keep in the loop with what we’re doing. Plus, it’s free to join.”

Well known in the equestrian world, Ariat is now making the move over to shooting, launching the Defiant boot that’s perfect for low ground or hill stalkers. Exhibiting for the first time ever at The Game Fair, they said it had been a hugely successful show for them and their premium hunting footwear. The Defiant incorporates a Vibram outsole, a fullwidth shank system for maximum durability, and full 400g insulation with Gore-Tex lining – so it’s fully waterproof and breathable. Two versions are available: an 8in model (£300) and a taller 10in boot (£320). 01367 242818


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Sporting Rifle 159 (Sampler)  

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Sporting Rifle 159 (Sampler)  

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